If you are not LinkedIn, you are locked out!

FOR quite a while, I pondered over the idea of setting up a LinkedIn account, but eventually thought, why not?

To me if you’re not in, you can’t win, so I decided to go for it. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the LinkedIn space is one purely dedicated to the professional world. It’s a networking resource, as well as an online CV and representation of your career his- tory to-date and if you’re not yet on LinkedIn, then you’re doing your job search an injustice.

On the first level, setting yourself up on LinkedIn gives you an online professional presence.

It is often be the first port of call for a potential employer, as nowadays many organisations will immediately ‘Google’ you when they receive your application and a LinkedIn profile usually appears in the top three search results.

One of the most common myths circulating is that LinkedIn is of little use unless you have a job.

This is, of course, false. It is simply about crafting your profile to sell your personal brand. Stuck as to what to put as your current position? Use this as an opportunity to extend your professional headline, for example: Seeking an entry-level PR position as unemployed, or media graduate seeking job at marketing company. This is not enough though: your profile contents need to signpost employers to you, too – headhunting is a common occurrence on LinkedIn.

It’s unlikely LinkedIn will replace the CV altogether in the near future. There is certainly more emphasis being placed on candidates’ LinkedIn profiles, and as a fully integrated part of the application process.

Many recruiters use LinkedIn for headhunting (93 per-cent in 2012, in fact, according to a survey from recruitment software provider Jobvite), and whilst you can upload your CV to databases, it’s cru- cial to remember that your LinkedIn profile is highly searchable on Google and it’s often where employers will head to find a candidate with a particular qualification or skill. Never have keywords been so important!

The recently updated LinkedIn profile makes browsing a candidate’s profile even easier. A potential employer can see an applicant’s relevant experience, skills and expertise, education and recommenda- tions and endorsements at ease. This makes LinkedIn a go-to resource for re- cruiters who spend so much of their time scouring hard-to-read and illegibly formatted CVs.

LinkedIn is a shop window for what you have achieved so far professionally, says Caspar Bartington, relationship man- ager, education, The Chartered Insurance Institute. “It’s a fantastic way to build professional networks far more easily than only ever attending face-to-face networking events. I particularly like the groups that relate to areas of interest – this is where one link can lead onto many, many more.”

Never underestimate the value of keeping in touch with colleagues – past and present – on LinkedIn. Keep up to date with moves people make, congratulate them on new jobs and take the opportunity when it arises to talk about changes in your employment, so that when you need to tap into your network it occurs as a natural aspect of your ongoing communication.

Source: applicationassist.co.uk